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Advancing Community wellness in the Coachella Valley

Desert Healthcare District and Foundation is honored by Palm Springs Human Rights Commission and Black History Month Committee at Annual Events

The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board and staff are honored to be the recipients of two distinguished awards during the month of February.


On February 5, Board Directors Evett PerezGil and Carmina Zavala and CEO Conrado Bárzaga, MD, were presented with the Philanthropist of the Year Award at the 12th Annual Palm Springs Black History Month Awards Gala. Presented by Deiter Crawford of the Desert Highland Gateway Estates Community Action Committee, the award recognizes the District and Foundation for its long-term support and efforts to improve health and wellness for residents of Desert Highland Gateway Estates, a traditionally Black neighborhood in northern Palm Springs.


With funding and other support, the District and Foundation contributed to developing the neighborhood's first-ever community health needs assessment and community health workers in 2015.


Recently, the agency launched an initiative to further address racial inequities in healthcare and health professions for Black communities in the Coachella Valley. The Board approved in July 2020 allocating $400,000 (with additional commitments of $100,000 from the Inland Empire Health Plan and $75,000 from Lift to Rise) toward healthcare infrastructure and services, and $200,000 to create with OneFuture Coachella Valley a scholarship program for Black students seeking careers in health. The first scholars will be recognized during a virtual ceremony on Feb. 23, 2022.


The District and Foundation also was recognized on Feb. 14 when the city of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission acknowledged it and seven other organizations and individuals with a Community Service Award. Commission Chairman Ron deHarte said during the virtual event that the District and Foundation's award recognized the agency's work "not just this last year, but for the years past." District and Foundation Board President Karen Borja accepted the award on behalf of the Board and staff.


About the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation

The Desert Healthcare District is a local government agency formed in 1948. Its mission is to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents. The District includes more than 400,000 residents and encompasses the entire Coachella Valley. The District and Desert Healthcare Foundation, together, are one of the largest funders in the valley. These funds are used to assist residents — especially the underserved — in accessing vitally needed resources, such as primary and behavioral healthcare, housing, food, and transportation resources for medical appointments.